Have you ever heard of that saying, “Money does not grow on trees”? I have and as a kid I think I truly did believe money grew on trees. I think I heard that saying from my mom at least five times a day growing up because I honestly could not get the idea that she could not take care of my every whim. If we were in a grocery store and I saw some candy, I of course assumed it was mine. She would tell me no, and I would throw a tantrum. She would then remind me of all the goodies we already had at home or whatever goodies were in the cart. She would say I did not need anything else because I had enough. Of course, she was right. I would get home and forget all about the thing I wanted at the store because I always had plenty to eat at home. Even as I grew older, and my whims grew more expensive, my mom would again continue to remind me that money did not grow on trees, and to be satisfied with what I already had compared to always wanting the bigger and better I thought I did not already have. What I did not know then was that my mom was teaching me how to be content and satisfied no matter if it was a season of plenty or a season of lack. When was the last time you looked at where you are right now with contentment?
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13
The Apostle Paul is the one who wrote these words of true contentment. He was arrested and made prisoner in Rome for spreading the gospel of Jesus. Could you imagine being thrown in jail because you were ministering to someone about the love and salvation of God? Most people would say this was a low point of his life, yet he only speaks of the joy he has. He had nothing but four walls and a dirt floor to his name at this point, but he was content. He had no music, no television, no friends or family in the cell with him to keep him company; he just had those four walls, a ceiling, and a dirt floor. Yet, he describes being totally okay with where he was right then. He speaks of being totally content because he knows God to be the provider for his needs. He found that peace that surpasses understanding.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11
Most of us only see our lives through the lens of lack. We all have these seasons in life when our trees are either full or our trees are bare. But, the funny thing is, most of us still see lack during plenty. Just like my childish whims, a lot of us still suffer with that same mentality. We will have a closet full of clothes, yet we will say “I have nothing to wear!” (Yes, I am still struggling in this area, pray for me…), we will finally get hired for a job that we had been praying for and then a few months into it we are ready to find another one or we will land a promotion from our jobs and instead of rejoicing for where you have landed you are looking to fly to the next one. We can all look at our lives and find lack. But can you take an honest look at yourself and understand your discontentment? Most contentment comes from within. There is not enough money, power, fame, or time that could make you content. That is something we all must learn for ourselves.
Finally, I would ask you to understand what true contentment is. I am not talking about the satisfaction of getting that burger you have been craving all day, and then finally get it- type of contentment. We all know that does not last, and you usually crave something else not so long after you have had it. I am talking about the contentment of absolutely being good with where you have been, where you are now, and where God will take you in the future. We all have made mistakes and will continue to do so, but we should all have the confidence in knowing that Christ is our strength and support. No matter the season, life is good because we have the honor of living one. Despite your needs or the season, you can still be content. As always you got this!